Japan’s Himawari 9 weather satellite will ride into space atop an H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center and reach a preliminary geostationary transfer orbit within 28 minutes of liftoff.
The 7,700-pound (3,500-kilogram) satellite will blast off from Launch Pad No. 1 at the Yoshinobu launch complex at Tanegashina Space Center, a picturesque spaceport carved on the southern edge of Tanegashima Island in southern Japan.
The H-2A rocket carrying Himawari 8 will head east over the Pacific Ocean, dropping its two solid-fueled boosters, nose cone, and a cryogenic core stage in the sea before its upper stage delivers the weather observatory to an orbit stretching more than 22,000 miles above Earth.
A list of the major events during the launch, set for 0620 GMT (2:20 a.m. EDT) Wednesday, is provided below.
Data source: JAXA
With its LE-7A main engine and two solid rocket boosters firing, the 174-foot-tall H-2A rocket lifts off from the Yoshinobu launch complex on Tanegashima Island. A few moments later, the rocket will complete a pitch program to head east from the launch site.
T+01:38: SRB-A Burnout
The H-2A’s two solid rocket boosters exhaust their propellant and burn out at an altitude of 28 miles (45 kilometers).
T+01:48: SRB-A Jettison
The two solid rocket boosters are jettisoned at an altitude of 33 miles (53 kilometers).
T+04:05: Fairing Separation
After traversing the dense lower atmosphere and reaching an altitude of 88 miles (142 kilometers), the rocket releases the 4-meter (13.1-foot) diameter payload fairing protecting the Himawari 9 spacecraft during the early part of the flight.
T+06:36: Main Engine Cutoff
After consuming its liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants, the LE-7A first stage main engine shuts down. The first stage and solid rocket boosters push the rocket to a velocity of nearly 11,000 mph (4.9 kilometers per second).
T+06:44: Stage Separation
The H-2A rocket’s first stage is separated now, having completed its job. The spent stage will fall into the Pacific Ocean downrange from Tanegashima.
T+06:50: Second Stage Ignition
With the first stage jettisoned, the rocket’s second stage takes over. The LE-5B hydrogen-fueled engine ignites at an altitude of 140 miles (225 kilometers) to accelerate the Himawari 9 payload to orbital velocity.
T+12:12: SECO 1
The LE-5B second stage engine shuts down after reaching a parking orbit with the Himawari 9 satellite. The second stage will coast for nearly 12 minutes before restarting to boost the spacecraft into geostationary transfer orbit.
T+23:50: Second Stage Restart
The LE-5B second stage engine reignites for a 3-minute, 17-second burn.
T+27:07: SECO 2
The H-2A rocket’s LE-5B second stage engine shuts down after reaching an orbit with a high point of 35,976 kilometers (22,354 miles), a low point of 250 kilometers (155 miles), and an inclination of 22.4 degrees.
T+27:57: Himawari 9 Separation
The 7,716-pound Himawari 8 weather satellite separates from the H-2A rocket’s second stage to complete the launch. Himawari 9 is designed for an eight-year weather observation mission for the Japan Meteorological Agency.
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from Spaceflight Now